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Jackie Review

Essential

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history, this film centres on just a few days in her life to offer some telling insights not only into the woman in question but also the culture of celebrity and the nature of political legacies. Yes, it's a complex, provocative film, artfully directed by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain (Neruda) and anchored by a riveting performance from Natalie Portman.

The story is set in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, as Jackie (Portman) retreats to her seaside home in Massachusetts to make plans for her future. She is visited by a journalist (Billy Crudup), who asks her about her experience in the days after her husband (Caspar Phillipson) was shot while sitting next to her in the back of a car. During these days, she has been faced with some big questions. Who is she arranging the funeral for? Herself? Her children? The American public? The future generations who will remember her husband? The only people she can confide in are her brother-in-law Bobby (Peter Sarsgaard), her assistant Nancy (Greta Gerwig) and a straight-talking priest (John Hurt). Her husband may have been a relentless philanderer, but Jackie is consumed by grief and unsure where her life will go now.

More: Natalie Portman Loved The Complex Layers Of Jackie

Continue reading: Jackie Review

Jennifer Lawrence Gushes About 'Notebook-Style' Friendship With Emma Stone


Jennifer Lawrence Emma Stone Darren Aronofsky

Jennifer Lawrence has opened up about her friendship with fellow actress Emma Stone.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Lawrence said the two became friends when Woody Harrelson, who worked with Lawrence on The Hunger Games and with Stone in Zombieland, predicted that they would hit it off.

Jennifer LawrenceJennifer Lawrence has spoken about her BFF Emma Stone

Continue reading: Jennifer Lawrence Gushes About 'Notebook-Style' Friendship With Emma Stone

Video - Russell Crowe And Onscreen Wife Jennifer Connelly Snapped At NY Premiere Of 'Noah' - Part 3


Russell Crowe, the leading man of biblical epic 'Noah', is snapped on the red carpet on his arrival at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York for the movie's premiere alongside his onscreen wife Jennifer Connelly who was there with her real life actor husband Paul Bettany.

Continue: Video - Russell Crowe And Onscreen Wife Jennifer Connelly Snapped At NY Premiere Of 'Noah' - Part 3

Darren Aronofsky Gets It Right: The Critics Don't Sink 'Noah's' Arc


Russell Crowe Darren Aronofsky Emma Watson

With all the hype surrounding Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah – religious groups denouncing it; widespread bans in the Middle East; numerous re-cuts and studio interference – just getting it into cinemas sounded like a big enough challenge. But the Black Swan director, who put his foot down and released the film he intended, is reaping the rewards with some glowing report cards. 

NoahRussell Crowe as the titular Noah

The film sees Russell Crowe play Noah, who sets about building a huge arc to survive the biblical flood coming to offer up punishment to a disobedient and spiteful Man. But the film doesn’t restrict itself to the text; delving into spirituality and action film tropes in equal measure – something the critics have picked up on and praised Aronofsky for. 

Continue reading: Darren Aronofsky Gets It Right: The Critics Don't Sink 'Noah's' Arc

Aronofsky's 'Noah' Is One Of The Most Ridiculous, Magnificent Movies, Ever


Russell Crowe Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky's retelling of the story of Noah was never going to be a straight biblical tale. We knew that after Lionsgate executives began sweating, pushing for a more religious slant and suggesting a Christian rock song for the final moments. Aronofsky - the man behind Black Swan, Pi and The Fountain - has described Noah as the least biblical, biblical story, ever and he's probably right.

NoahRussell Crowe Stars As 'Noah'

The film fails to mention God once and paints Noah - played here by Russell Crowe - as more of an environmentalist. Critics aren't completely blown away, but there's no doubt that Noah is one of the more ambitious and visually spectacular movies in recent years.

Continue reading: Aronofsky's 'Noah' Is One Of The Most Ridiculous, Magnificent Movies, Ever

Darren Aronofsky Wants You To Know That 'Noah' Isn't Religious, At All


Darren Aronofsky Russell Crowe Emma Watson

Just to annoy the religious critics of his movie some more, filmmaker and self-professed Darren Aronofsky has called his retelling of the story of Noah, "the least biblical biblical film ever made."

NoahRussell Crowe Plays 'Noah'

Somehow, Aronofksy has made a secular movie about the Biblical figure, painting Noah - played here by Russell Crowe - as an environmentalist in a movie that doesn't mention God once. Not once.  

Continue reading: Darren Aronofsky Wants You To Know That 'Noah' Isn't Religious, At All

A Week In Movies: Blockbusters Premiere In L.A. And London And We Get More Detailed Trailers For Transcendence, Godzilla And Maleficent


Shailene Woodley Kate Winslet Chris Evans Scarlett Johansson Johnny Depp Morgan Freeman Gareth Edwards Angelina Jolie Darren Aronofsky

Divergent

It was another week for starry movie premieres. In Los Angeles, Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Theo James and Ashley Judd walked the red carpet for Divergent. The future dystopia thriller opens this weekend in America, and in two weeks in the UK. Take a look through our gallery from the premiere of Divergent - Los Angeles, California, United States.

Meanwhile in London, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie and Jenny Agutter were on hand for the blue carpet premiere of the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Marvel action blockbuster opens next week in Britain, and the following week in the US. Browse through our photos from 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' film premiere held at the Vue Westfield - London, United Kingdom.

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Blockbusters Premiere In L.A. And London And We Get More Detailed Trailers For Transcendence, Godzilla And Maleficent

A Week In News: SXSW In Full Swing, Fury For 'Frozen', 'Noah' And 'Mean Girls' Mania


Jay Z Tina Fey Darren Aronofsky Zack Snyder

Kanye and Jay Z Perform

South By Southwest In Full Swing: The annual Texas celebration of music, film and art has kicked off in Austin and is proving as successful and exciting as ever. As usual, the evening's music festival events have proven the most popular news stories worldwide, thanks to live streaming of some of the event's biggest shows. This week we've seen Brit rockers Coldplay take to a stripped-back stage to perform songs from upcoming album Ghost Stories, Lady Gaga get puked upon voluntarily in a stomach-churning finale and a 'Watch The Throne' reunion from world-conquering rappers Jay Z and Kanye West.

A 'Mean Girls' Musical?: Tina Fey has whipped her legion of Mean Girls fans into a frenzy this week after she ruled that there would be no official sequel to her oft-quoted 2004 teen classic. However, she did throw us a bone when she revealed that she and her composer husband are developing a stage musical based on the comedy. As the film's 10 year anniversary creeps into view this could be the perfect way to celebrate. Find out more here.

Continue reading: A Week In News: SXSW In Full Swing, Fury For 'Frozen', 'Noah' And 'Mean Girls' Mania

Darren Aronofksy's 'Noah' Banned In UAE, Qatar, Bahrain


Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky's epic Noah starring Russell Crowe has been banned in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain because it could offend Muslims. The decision comes after the movie sparked controversy amongst Christians in the U.S, prompting Paramount Pictures to add a disclaimer to its marketing material, saying that "artistic license has been taken" in retelling the story of the great flood.

Noah Russell CroweRussell Crowe as 'Noah'

Now, the director of media content at the National Media Center in the United Arab Emirates, Juma Al-Leem told the Associated Press that the movie will not be allowed in cinemas because it contradicts a generally held taboo in Islam of depicting a prophet.

Continue reading: Darren Aronofksy's 'Noah' Banned In UAE, Qatar, Bahrain

'Noah': Mixed Signals In Mexico, Strong Start Predicted, Christian Rock Cut Revealed


Darren Aronofsky Russell Crowe

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah was never going to fly under the radar. The film, based on the intrepid Noah from Genesis, essentially flies in the face of religion, which was a sticky issue for Paramount, who cut the film up into so many iterations it’s doubtful anyone knows which version made it to cinemas.

NoahNoah has garnered a mixed response in Mexico

But, whichever version made it to Mexican cinemas, it wasn’t exactly perfect. Before the film, Aronoksky told the audience: "It's a very, very different movie," he said. "Anything you're expecting, you're f---ing wrong." Well, perhaps swearing didn’t set the right tone as some critics felt it dragged on, while others just simply didn’t like it. Others planned on positive reviews. Like we said, mixed signals.

Continue reading: 'Noah': Mixed Signals In Mexico, Strong Start Predicted, Christian Rock Cut Revealed

Emma Watson Drank Stagnant Water After Aronofsky's 'Noah' Bottle Ban


Emma Watson Darren Aronofsky Russell Crowe

If having to shoot her scenes between 4am and 7am in the morning wasn't bad enough, Emma Watson has revealed how she fell ill on the set of Noah after director Darren Aronofsky banned bottled water.

Russell Crowe NoahRussell Crowe Stars in Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah'

Watson, who plays Noah's adopted daughter Ila in the big-budget movie, told Wonderland magazine that the movie's pro-environmental message meant the crew were not allowed to bring bottled water on set.

Continue reading: Emma Watson Drank Stagnant Water After Aronofsky's 'Noah' Bottle Ban

How Darren Aronofsky Won The Biblical Battle For Control With Noah


Darren Aronofsky Russell Crowe Emma Watson Ray Winstone

Darren Aronofksy’s Noah is a film of epic proportions, telling the long tale of Noah’s fight against an almighty flood that threatens to end all of humanity and life on earth. But there was an almighty battle to be fought off screen, too. Paramount were keen to appease religious audiences on which the film was tested, attempting to gain control of the final cut.

NoahWe'll be seeing Noah as its director intended

All in all, repots suggest the film was actually cut a dozen times before Aronofsky finally got his way. "They tried what they wanted to try, and eventually they came back," he said. "My version of the film hasn't been tested ... It's what we wrote and what was greenlighted." He admitted "there was a rough patch" with the studio.

Continue reading: How Darren Aronofsky Won The Biblical Battle For Control With Noah

Darren Aronofsky, One, Paramount, Nil, - Director Gets The 'Noah' Cut He Wanted


Russell Crowe Darren Aronofsky Paramount Pictures

Darren Aronofsky came to loggerheads with Paramount over his biblical epic, Noah, starring Russell Crowe. The problem lay with the final cut, and the perennial battle between auteur and Hollywood studio reared its ugly head once more. But in an unlikely tale, akin to the subject matter in the film - in semblance rather than historical accuracy, at least – the director won.

NoahThe final cut is the director's, but will it be any good?

Paramount execs had previously demanded a re-cut, and made their own versions of the film due to an unsavoury reaction from U.S screeners. The religious content in the film led to unrest amongst Christian communities. Paramount wanted to please everybody. But Aronofsky, who wowed audiences with his efforts in The Wrestler and Black Swan, asserts that the cut we’ll see in cinemas is the one he intended; it’s not become anodyne or inhibited.

Continue reading: Darren Aronofsky, One, Paramount, Nil, - Director Gets The 'Noah' Cut He Wanted

Video - Jennifer Lawrence And Liam Hemsworth At The 'Catching Fire' NY Premiere - Part 4


Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth have a red carpet get together at the New York premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater.

Continue: Video - Jennifer Lawrence And Liam Hemsworth At The 'Catching Fire' NY Premiere - Part 4

Noah Trailer


When Noah is faced with a dark message from God thanks to his gift of envisioning the future, he realises he is the only person who can save the world. The Lord is angry with the entirety of humanity for their increasingly violent behaviour, and is thus forced to oversee an enormous flood deadly enough to wipe out all people and animals on the planet. Noah and his family are the only humans on the planet who God is willing to save, and so they build an ark big enough to home two of every animal as well as themselves as God attempts to start over again. However, when word gets around that Noah is given the gift of survival while everybody else is doomed to die, naturally a siege ensues and Noah must protect himself and his family against more than one great threat.

This Biblical dystopian tale is based on the Genesis story 'Noah's Ark' which depicts an apocalyptic flood destroying mankind. It has been directed by Darren Aronofsky ('Black Swan', 'The Wrestler', 'Requiem for a Dream ') who co-wrote the screenplay alongside his previous collaborator Ari Handel ('The Fountain'). 'Noah' will be released next year on March 28th 2014.

Click here to read - Noah Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah' Brings The Bible Tale To Epic Life With Russell Crowe [Trailer]


Russell Crowe Jennifer Connelly Anthony Hopkins Emma Watson Darren Aronofsky

Everyone knows the story of Noah, whether religious or not, virtually everyone is familiar with the man who received a warning from God that a flood was coming and built a giant ark to save two of every species and his family. Director Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic has been rumoured for some time but now we have visual proof that Noah will be released next year.

Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe Gets A (Bigger) Beard For His New Role.

The trailer gives a flavour of the digital artistry and astounding visual effects we should prepare ourselves for ahead of the movie's March 2014 release.

Continue reading: Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah' Brings The Bible Tale To Epic Life With Russell Crowe [Trailer]

Religious Audiences Argue Noah Story Diverges From Bible, Even Though It Never Happened


Russell Crowe Emma Watson Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky is facing a strange few months. His film, Noah, which stars Russell Crowe and Emma Watson (that’s not the weird bit) was put in front of Christian and Jewish test audiences, only for them to oppose the film because it diverges from the biblical telling of the story.

Russell CroweRussell Crowe Stars as Noah In Aronofsky's Movie

 When you break it down, this is - quite simply - fans of a book complaining the big screen adaptation isn’t true to what the author was trying to say. And it’s not like we haven’t seen that before. Problem is, Christianity and Judaism can’t really be boiled down to a ‘set of fans’ – there’s all this culture, art, food and years of persecution to think about.

Continue reading: Religious Audiences Argue Noah Story Diverges From Bible, Even Though It Never Happened

Darren Aronofksy And Paramount Feud Over Final Cut Of $125 Million 'Noah'


Darren Aronofsky Russell Crowe Paramount Pictures

Having final cut is important to auteurs. Most studios - and almost all of the major ones - finance movies for one thing: to make a profit. Directors understand this, though getting final cut of a project they've worked on for months and often years is the very least that filmmakers ask.

It seems a dispute over the issue has erupted between Darren Aronofsky and Paramount regarding final cut of the $125 million epic Noah after troubling reactions from Jewish audiences in New York, Christians in Arizona and the general public in Orange County in California. 

Multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Aronofsky and Paramount have been at odds over the version of Noah that will get a full release on March 28. It's still not clear whether the director - whose last effort Black Swan grossed $329 million worldwide and won an Oscar for Natalie Portman - has held onto the right to final cut.

Continue reading: Darren Aronofksy And Paramount Feud Over Final Cut Of $125 Million 'Noah'

Sigourney Weaver And Ridley Scott To Join Forces Once Again For 'Exodus'


Sigourney Weaver Ridley Scott Joel Edgerton Aaron Paul Christian Bale John Turturro Russell Crowe Darren Aronofsky

Sigourney Weaver is re-teaming with the man who gave her her big break; Ridley Scott, to co-star in the director's upcoming Bible epic Exodus. The 20th Century Fox production will see Weaver star as Tuya, mother of Ramses (played by Joel Edgerton), in the movie, with John Turturro already signed on to appear as her husband.

Sigourney Weaver
Weaver will star as Tuya in one of 2014's two biblical movies

Weaver re-unites with Scott for the first time since the 1979 sci-fi classic Alien, in a film that is already looking like a star-studded affair, even though casting hasn't yet finished.

Continue reading: Sigourney Weaver And Ridley Scott To Join Forces Once Again For 'Exodus'

Spy Who Loved Me: Daniel Craig Kisses Rachel Weisz At BAFTA Britannia Awards


Daniel Craig Rachel Weisz Berenice Marlohe Naomie Harris Daniel Day Lewis Steven Spielberg Darren Aronofsky

Daniel Craig and wife Rachel Weisz shared a rare moment of public intimacy at the 2012 Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday evening (November 8, 2012). The British couple were attending the BBC America sponsored event, at which Craig picked up the award for British Artist of the Year.

After being announced the winner, Craig leaned in and kissed his wife before making his way onto the stage as she applauded. The Skyfall actor mimicked his 007 persona by opting for a simple black tuxedo, while Weisz opted for a black ensemble. After picking up his gong, Craig was congratulated by director Stephen Spielberg and Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis, who also took home an award for his turn in Lincoln. The evening turned out to be a very Bond affair, with actresses Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris both in attendance, as well as director Sam Mendes. Goldeneye actor Alan Cumming hosted the event in a striking looking red suit.

Though amongst the world's most famous movie stars, Craig and Weisz have managed to keep their relationship largely private. She broke off her engagement to director Darren Aronofsky in 2010 before marrying Craig in June 2011. 

Continue reading: Spy Who Loved Me: Daniel Craig Kisses Rachel Weisz At BAFTA Britannia Awards

Megan Fox's Baby Arrives Safe: Russell Crowe Will Love The Name, Maybe


Megan Fox Brian Austin Green Russell Crowe Darren Aronofsky

Megan Fox's baby boy arrived safe and sound on September 27th 2012, with the Transformers actress, 26, making the announcement on her official Facebook page after saying she wanted to tell her fans directly.

"He is healthy, happy, and perfect. We are humbled to have the opportunity to call ourselves the parents of this beautiful soul and I am forever grateful to God for allowing me to know this kind of boundless, immaculate love," the actress said. With statements like that, the name just had to have biblical connotations didn't it? Yep, Fox and husband Brian Austin Green opted for 'Noah Shannon Green.' We wonder if the sight of Russell Crowe in full Noah garb for his upcoming turn as the helmsman in Darren Aronofsky's forthcoming epic was enough to convince Megan and Brian of the name. Perhaps?

Fox married television actor Green, 39, in June 2010 in Hawaii after a four year engagement, which included a brief split in 2009. He is best known for 'Beverly Hills 90210' though will star in the forthcoming series 'The Wedding Band.' Fox will next appear opposite Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in 'This is 40', a sequel-of-sorts to Judd Apatow's 'Knocked Up.'


Darren Aronofsky and Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences Sunday 27th February 2011 83rd Annual Academy Awards (Oscars) held at the Kodak Theatre - Arrivals Los Angeles, California

Darren Aronofsky and Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences
Darren Aronofsky and Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences
Darren Aronofsky, Academy Awards and Kodak Theatre

Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards Saturday 26th February 2011 The 2011

Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards

Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards Saturday 26th February 2011 The 2011

Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards
Darren Aronofsky, Independent Spirit Awards and Spirit Awards

Darren Aronofsky - Sunday 13th February 2011 at BAFTA London, England

Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky Saturday 12th February 2011 arriving at Automat restaurant to attend a pre-Bafta dinner London, England

Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky - Director Darren Aronofsky Monday 7th February 2011 at Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences Beverly Hills, California

Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky
Walt Disney and Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky - Sunday 30th January 2011 at Screen Actors Guild Los Angeles, California

Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky - Director Darren Aronofsky Saturday 29th January 2011 at Directors Guild Of America Hollywood, California

Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky and Palladium Friday 14th January 2011 16th Annual Critics' Choice Awards held at the Hollywood Palladium - Arrivals Hollywood, California

Darren Aronofsky and Palladium
Darren Aronofsky and Palladium
Darren Aronofsky and Palladium

Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky - Natalie Portman, Darren Aronofsky Saturday 8th January 2011 at Palm Springs Convention Center Palm Springs, California

Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky - Natalie Portman and Director Darren Aronofsky Saturday 8th January 2011 at Palm Springs Convention Center Palm Springs, California

Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky

Black Swan Trailer


Nina has always strived to be the best dancer in the New York City ballet company she belongs to, driven by the company director and her mother, Nina starts to feel like she's moving in the right direction. When the company decide they're going to perform Swan Lake, the director, Thomas Leroy, must choose a girl to play the innocent White Swan and one to play the Black Swan who's an altogether darker character.

Continue: Black Swan Trailer

Natalie Portman, Darren Aronofsky, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassell and Winona Ryder - Producer Scott Franklin, Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassell, director Darren Aronofsky and Winona Ryder Tuesday 30th November 2010 at Ziegfeld Theatre New York City, USA

Natalie Portman, Darren Aronofsky, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassell and Winona Ryder
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

Darren Aronofsky and Wall Street Monday 29th November 2010 IFP's 20th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards - Cipriani's Wall Street - Outside Arrivals New York City, USA

Darren Aronofsky and Wall Street
Darren Aronofsky and Wall Street

Vincent Cassel, Darren Aronofsky and Mila Kunis - Producer Scott Franklin, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis and director Darren Aronofsky London, England - The 54th Times BFI London Film Festival - 'Black Swan' - Photocall held at The Berkeley Hotel Friday 22nd October 2010

Vincent Cassel, Darren Aronofsky and Mila Kunis
Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis

Darren Aronofsky Monday 13th September 2010 The 35th Toronto International Film Festival - Toronto, Canada

Darren Aronofsky

The Wrestler Review


Extraordinary
For those who have been following Darren Aronofsky's career since he broke out in 2000 with Requiem for a Dream, his latest work, The Wrestler, might very well come as a bit of a shock. Unlike Requiem and 2006's The Fountain, the film does not garner its power from hyperactive editing (the former) nor grandiose flourishes of the patently ludicrous (the latter). Shot in grainy 16mm by the estimable Maryse Alberti, a cinematographer who has spent the last few years shooting documentaries, The Wrestler realigns Aronofsky as a director concerned with the slow burn of American neo-realism more than hyperactive pseudo-transcendentalism.

It is also the resurrection, renovation, and reinvention of Mickey Rourke in the King Lear of self-reflexive roles. Walking hunched with his long strands of bleached-blonde hair covering his face until he puts it up under a hairnet, revealing an unsightly hearing aid, Rourke's Randy "The Ram" Robinson, an aging legend of the 1980s pro-wrestling boom, walks like a grand warrior just starting to get used to the knife in his back after years of minor shows as a nostalgic draw. After suffering a heart attack, Randy declines an upcoming rematch with his erstwhile nemesis The Ayatollah and tries to clean himself up, taking a weekend shift at the local deli counter, ensuring that his landlord won't evict him from his trailer.

Continue reading: The Wrestler Review

The Fountain Review


Good
In the press notes for The Fountain, Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) says that he didn't feel that many movies had been made about the quest for immortality. How's that? I can think of a pile off the top of my head: Tuck Everlasting, The Spring, the entire Highlander series... heck, it was the subject of two Star Trek movies (Insurrection and the infamous nadir of the series, The Final Frontier). What Aronofsky should have said is that there are no good movies about immortality, the original Highlander being the notable sole exception. Alas, while it's got ambition to spare, I'm sad to report that The Fountain doesn't much improve the record for "fountain of youth" flicks.

While the rock-'em-sock-'em trailer may have you thinking that The Fountain is cut from Highlander's action-packed, centuries-spanning mold, be advised this is far from the case. In fact, the only real action in the film occurs in the very first scene. The rest of the movie is a meditation on loss, grief, science, and "closure," more of a sci-fi think piece than the grand adventure you might be hoping for.

Continue reading: The Fountain Review

This Film Is Not Yet Rated Review


OK
When South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker made Orgazmo, a romp about a Mormon porn star, and submitted it to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for a rating, it came back NC-17. The filmmakers asked what they could do to get it down to an R, and they were told, brusquely, nothing. Years later they made Team America: World Police, which included a four-minute puppet-sex scene (including many shots they had no intention of using, just so they'd have something to cut out) that pushed them into forbidden territory. This time, however, they were provided scene-specific notes on how to make the film into an R. The difference? Orgazmo was an indie release, while Team America came from Paramount Studios. The message of this story, as relayed by Stone in the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated, is fairly simple: The MPAA is less a responsible watchdog organization keeping the country safe from sexually explicit material than it is a corrupt industry tool, keeping the fig leaf of respectability not so firmly in place.

The MPAA was a lobbying organization that first implemented its voluntary ratings system in 1968 under the auspices of Jack Valenti, a Washington insider and LBJ confidant determined to defend Hollywood from the possibility of government regulation. Valenti argued it was better for film studios to police themselves so as to avoid having political prudes come down with a modernized Hays Code. So filmmakers must present their films to the MPAA's classifications panel (whose identities are never disclosed and are only described on the MPAA's website as "a board of parents") and then, if they don't have enough industry clout or the ability/desire to cut and resubmit their film for another pass, have to live with whatever rating is passed down. As This Film points out time and again, given that NC-17 films are shown by almost no theaters and often not carried by video rental chains, it's a system where de facto censorship is carried out by a secret nongovernmental body that seems to have a real problem with sex.

Continue reading: This Film Is Not Yet Rated Review

This Film Is Not Yet Rated Review


OK
When South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker made Orgazmo, a romp about a Mormon porn star, and submitted it to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for a rating, it came back NC-17. The filmmakers asked what they could do to get it down to an R, and they were told, brusquely, nothing. Years later they made Team America: World Police, which included a four-minute puppet-sex scene (including many shots they had no intention of using, just so they'd have something to cut out) that pushed them into forbidden territory. This time, however, they were provided scene-specific notes on how to make the film into an R. The difference? Orgazmo was an indie release, while Team America came from Paramount Studios. The message of this story, as relayed by Stone in the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated, is fairly simple: The MPAA is less a responsible watchdog organization keeping the country safe from sexually explicit material than it is a corrupt industry tool, keeping the fig leaf of respectability not so firmly in place.

The MPAA was a lobbying organization that first implemented its voluntary ratings system in 1968 under the auspices of Jack Valenti, a Washington insider and LBJ confidant determined to defend Hollywood from the possibility of government regulation. Valenti argued it was better for film studios to police themselves so as to avoid having political prudes come down with a modernized Hays Code. So filmmakers must present their films to the MPAA's classifications panel (whose identities are never disclosed and are only described on the MPAA's website as "a board of parents") and then, if they don't have enough industry clout or the ability/desire to cut and resubmit their film for another pass, have to live with whatever rating is passed down. As This Film points out time and again, given that NC-17 films are shown by almost no theaters and often not carried by video rental chains, it's a system where de facto censorship is carried out by a secret nongovernmental body that seems to have a real problem with sex.

Continue reading: This Film Is Not Yet Rated Review

Pi Review


Extraordinary
"Personal Note: When I was a kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun, so when I was six, I did. The doctor's didn't know if my eyes would ever heal. I was scared, alone in that darkness, but slowly, light began to creep through the bandages. But something in me changed that day. That day I had my first headache."Thus begins Darren Aronofsky's 1998 independent trek into the surreal Pi, an incredibly complex and ambiguous film filled with both incredible style and substance. To get an idea of the director in case you have never seen him before, imagine the cinematography originality of Jim Jarmusch's Stranger than Paradise mixed with the perfect dialogue of Kevin Smith's Clerks and the bizarre and cryptic storyline of David Lynch's Eraserhead. Any surprise that all three of the aforementioned films are black and white? It shouldn't be. Pi uses an 8mm for the majority of its duration and film in a grainy black and white, giving the impression that you are watching a nightmare.The first large challenge of reviewing this thoroughly intriguing movie is describing its plot. Max Cohen (Sean Guilette) is a brilliant number theorist. He has three assumptions about the universe, one of which is that all things have an underlying pattern, an order. The hypothesis that he creates out of this is that he can predict anything, given enough variables and knowing the underlying pattern. His place to test this hypothesis: the stock market. In his search for answers in the stock market, he discovers a 216-digit number that seems to be the key to it all: it predicts Black Monday. Jewish mystics (Ben Shenkman) believe it to be the real name of God. Market manipulators (Pamela Hart) believe it to be the key to a fortune. A brilliant mathematician (Sol (Mark Margolis)) believes it to be a bug caused when a computer becomes conscious in the instants before it dies. Max is quickly launched into a world so paranoid it makes the Orwellian works of Andrew Niccol look safe.Max is also plagued by headaches. These headaches, strong enough to force him unconscious at regular intervals, have him taking a cocktail of painkillers in order to subdue. As he creeps closer and closer to the answer, the headaches increase in their intensity.I think the best way to interpret this massively cryptic film would be as a single man's search for peace. Through the movie, Max is gripped by a violent obsession with numbers and a complete phobia of social interaction. He constantly shuns the advances of his neighbor Devi (Samai Shoaib). He finds himself unable to take a break from anything and, as a consequence, finds himself inside of a complete nightmare. The only way to get away from this nightmare is to give up the one thing that has been his lifelong passion: numbers. The suspense of the film is helped along with an electric score by Clint Mansell, a soundtrack that keeps you on the edge with its razor-sharp notes. Also helping is the cinematographer Matthew Libatique, who gives us an infectious feeling of paranoia with the black and white film and the constant use of an unsteady camera to show the fast movement of Max.The film, although making numerous references to number theory, is fairly easy to understand with no mathematical knowledge: not to say that it doesn't help to know how to add and subtract. What is difficult is to view this film without a mind seeking to be intrigued, because, if you don't want intrigue, you shouldn't be watching Pi.Also known as p and Pi: Faith in Chaos.

Below Review


Weak
When is somebody going to scare the shit out of us again?

Will the day arrive when I can watch a movie with the same frightened, uneasy feeling I get when I walk through my darkened hallway at midnight?

Continue reading: Below Review

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